Thursday, October 06, 2011

A Message from Brent Detweiler

Should I Participate in the SGM “Group Reconciliation?”
Absolutely but Not Naively! - by Brent Detwiler

On October 1, Dave Harvey posted “Group Reconciliation Assistance and how you can be involved.” That post drew massive criticism. As a result, SGM is allowing people to provide feedback without mandatory attendance at the “Getting to the Heart of the Conflict” seminar on November 8 during the Pastors Conference. Praise God!

Now, you can appear before “congress” and give testimony without traveling to D.C. I’d encourage every person to take advantage of this opportunity. The leaders of Sovereign Grace Ministries have been deaf, dumb and mute when it comes to serious and substantial charges against them. Maybe God will open their ears, minds and mouths. But not if we are silent. Now is the time to speak.

I can’t guarantee this “group reconciliation” will result in biblical change. I doubt the findings will ever be published in any specificity. I don’t imagine it will hinder C.J. from returning as President. And I can’t envision any disciplinary being taken against men like Dave Harvey, Bob Kauflin, Steve Shank or Gene Emerson. I am not naive. Disappointment has become an dubious friend. Disillusionment an unwelcomed companion.

But it is still important for all of us to share our grievance, offenses, concerns, observations and correction. There are still good people and good churches in SGM. There is still the possibility of public repentance, confession and restitution by C.J., the SGM Board, and other leaders in SGM churches throughout America and the world. Read the book of Jonah and the ESV footnotes. God is compassionate.

But people must courageously speak up regarding their former or present SGM church and its leaders. This is not a time for silence. This is a time to speak out. Yes, redemptively, but also loudly and clearly!

The hundreds of people who left the Richmond Church must speak. The good folks who were part of Grace Community Church in Mooresville, NC must speak. Brothers and sisters from Gaithersburg, Ashburn, Orlando, Phoenix, San Diego, Charlotte, Denver, Stillwater, Philadelphia, and a host of other cities must lift their voice and send in their thoughts.

If SGM doesn’t hear from us they can make a case that concerns for the ministry are overstated and actually quite limited in scope. It can be presented as all is well except for a few tweaks here and there.

Voting in a national election doesn’t always produce the desired results but it is necessary, right and sometime effective. So too, writing your Senator regarding the budget, health care, abortion may accomplish nothing. But is a civic duty and God is pleased to use your efforts as He sees fit.

I spent two hours laying out my concerns for SGM to Ted Kober, President of Ambassadors of Reconciliation, on July 14. I covered critical issues like the growing presence of lying, deceit, manipulation, lording, hypocrisy, and spiritual abuse by C.J. and others. I’ve provided him 1,000 pages of documentation. But I am one voice and it is a voice SGM has sought to silence. All my writings have now been condemned as gossip and slander. They are off limits to people in Sovereign Grace churches. So SGM may not listen to me but maybe they will listen to a multitude of people around the world.

Please participate for the glory of God, the advance of the gospel, and the good of people in the movement! Sovereign Grace Ministries used to be different. It has changed for the worse and is in need of radical reform. But God can restore them if there is authentic repentance that results from your faithful appeals. Therefore, pray for them and contact AOR. See how below.




Anonymous said...

So are you going to participate?

Dan Bowen said...

I'm not sure Anonymous - I don't think so. Essentially I have already been reconciled with the UK SGM pastors concerned. My only concern would be with their polity and the ease in which they seem to excommunicate people. Also the involvement of the UK apostle - when I met him, he seemed to know nothing about my case - but apparently gave the instruction to the SGM pastors to "just throw him out if he doesn't comply".

But I don't think anything will be gained in pursuing it further - I've made my peace and it's wonderful. My concern is more for my family's sake and watching from afar.

'Irv' said...

Hi Dan -

I would encourage you to reconsider. I think it would be helpful for them to hear (or read) your story and your concerns for SGM as a result of your experience. I for the most part have made peace with CJ and others but when I see all that has happened to so many it doesn't leave me with peace in that it is not all about me and my peace.

The lingering part of this from my perspective is that what they have done to people has been in a public venue and their confession and 'reconciliation', as weak as it is, has been done in private. They have learned to isolate the problem(s) so they continue to do what they have always done.

I am not trying to talk you into anything. I just think that the more AoR know about the breadth and depth of the SGM abuse the better they will be able to evaluate the bigger picture.

for what it is worth!!!

Dan Bowen said...

That's a very good point Irv, am definitely re-thinking and considering! Particularly as the confidentiality clause is lifted

'Irv' said...

Thanks Dan -- Your voice is not insignificant!!! And neither are you!

'Irv' said...

Hey Dan -- I couldn't find an email address for you though I know it is here somewhere. I wanted to send you a copy of the letter I send to Ted at AoR. If you want to email at I will reply and send it to you.